Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Short Cuts: Stuff About Cars in Books About Other Things – “The Complaints” by Ian Rankin (p19)

“Monday morning, Malcolm Fox spent almost as much time finding a parking space at HQ as it had taken him to drive there in the first place.”
In Ian Rankin’s Rebus-free police procedural, Malcolm Fox proves that, while he may be a good detective, he complaints 2 lacks even the most basic knowledge of behavioural economics (!) -  first, he displays a typical heuristic (rule of thumb),  notably, “It’s quicker to drive,” when it so often isn’t,  often because actual driving time is the only bit that people factor into a travel decision (ie, discounting all the time spent faffing around, especially parking).  Secondly, Fox displays a classic case of over-optimism bias: the tendency to over-estimate the likelihood of positive outcomes, and under-estimate the likelihood of negative outcomes from a given activity. Again, often seen in driver’s estimates of journey times….

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